The best compressor pedals are made to help your tone sound balanced, even, and controlled. Although some guitarists like to utilize compression on their overdrive channels for guitar playing, the compressor thrives in a clean signal chain, where it may create the difference between a good and fantastic tone.
While some high-end, hand-wired tube amps may contain enough of natural compression, most guitarists find that using a pedal is the most practical and accessible option. Being able to squash and sustain your clean tone is an underappreciated skill, and it can be the only way to ensure a constant response and tone night after night.
EarthQuaker Devices The Warden V2
- Guitar Compress Pedal with Tone
- Release Controls True Bypass
The Warden V2 by Earthquaker Devices is a fantastic compression pedal that is efficient, detailed, and melodious. Its main purpose is to regulate the dynamics of your guitar or bass, but the advanced set of settings also gives you a lot of flexibility. The Warden V2 is the excellent start to any signal chain, with classic feedback-style circuitry and six detailed parameters.
Earthquaker Devices hand-selected the components that go into making this compressor pedal because of its superior quality. The Warden V2 is powered by 18 volts internally and can provide a lot of sustain and gain to your tone. The compression is less harsh when the sustain is cranked in. When you turn it up, you’ll get a lot of compression and a hotter tone.
The Warden V2’s six controls give you complete control over the pedal’s Tone, Attack, Release, Level, Sustain, and Ratio. Whether you want to add light compression to your guitar to smooth out the transients or harsh compression to normalize your dynamics, this pedal can handle both.
Compressor pedals are notorious for causing unwanted noise, especially if the circuitry isn’t up to par. Thanks to the Warden V2’s optical compressor architecture, this issue is no longer an issue. The addition of real bypass improves the overall sound quality, and the overall output of this compressor pedal is warm and authentic, making it suitable for a wide range of styles and genres. Occasionally, you’ll come across those uncommon types of effects pedals that function equally well with any style or tone. One of those pedals is the Warden V2 Optical Compressor, which would be a terrific addition to anyone’s kit.
The Warden V2 from EarthQuaker Devices is a wonderful blend of simplicity, adaptability, and tonal quality. You may design just about any type of compression using its six settings. It works well with other pedals and has a low noise level, making it one of the best compressor pedals in 2023 on the market.
Keeley Compressor Plus Effects Pedal
- The first true advancement in our 2 and 4 knob compressor line. The new features are simple and straight forward
- There is a simple Release Switch that is tuned for single coils or humbuckers. No more wondering if you have the attack or release set right
- Gorgeous sounding Tone Control which emphasizes the most sensitive harmonics that can be lost in compression
The THAT Corp. 4320 chip is used in the Keeley Compressor Pros, giving this compressor pedal amazing accuracy. This gives the VCA compressor pedal a lot of potential for outstanding live performances. The Keeley Compressor Pro comes with a comprehensive set of settings, including Gain, Release, Attack, Ratio, and Threshold. You can also pick between Soft Knee (for a more consistent response) and Hard Knee (for a more aggressive response) (for a more compact compression).
The most popular stompbox from Robert Keeley has been modified to make it even more tweakable. Thankfully, it’s still written out in a logical manner. For humbucker and single-coil pickups, there’s now a release switch to set the appropriate attack. The pedal has settings for sustain, overall volume, a compression mix to thicken and keep the tone you already adore, and a tone control to “brighten” up the sparkle of your guitar tone that can be lost when compressed.
A two-way switch for use with single-coil and humbucker guitars alters the general way the pedal behaves to compensate for the higher output of humbucker guitar pickups (which can commonly overload the input of a compressor and cause distortion). A mix control determines how much compressed signal you want — entirely counter-clockwise for a half-and-half blend, fully clockwise for all squished quack.
Bottom line, it allows you to take control of your guitar playing’s peaks. A tone control compensates for the loss of high-end and harmonic response that compression might cause. The Compressor Plus has a great tone and is a great value for money, therefore it’s our top pick for best guitar compressor pedals in 2023.
Keeley Compressor Plus Effects Pedal is one of the Best Compressor Pedals.
TC Electronic HyperGravity Compressor Compression and Sustain
- Studio-quality multiband compressor
- Vintage Mode for classic stomp box compression
- Tone print enabled - for a world of signature and customizable effects
The HyperGravity is the flagship guitar compressor pedal in TC Electronic’s remarkable range of effects pedals, which covers pretty much every processing capability you can think of. It creates many choices for controlling your instrument’s dynamic output using its acclaimed TonePrint technology.
The HyperGravity functions with razor-sharp accuracy and tremendous clarity, thanks to the highly powerful multiband algorithm borrowed from the TC electrical System 600. Three compression tones, Spectra, Vintage, and unique Toneprint, are at the heart of the pedal. The Spectra setting produces transparent and light compression, the Vintage setting emulates analog compression from the past, and the TonePrint setting allows you to customize the settings and create your own tones.
Hypergravity makes use of digital signal processing, yet it doesn’t sound like your typical digital stompbox. TC Electronic set out to build a pedal that blurs the gap between digital and analog, bringing the best of both worlds together. You can choose between buffered or complete bypass for the Blend feature, which allows you to combine your dry and wet signals to retain the sound as realistic as possible.
If you’re on the fence about whether to use digital or analog effects pedals, the TC Electronic HyperGravity is a solid compromise. I would recommend it to musicians that enjoy experimenting to find their desired sounds because it has a lot of programmable controls. TC Electronic’s HyperGravity is a complex compressor pedal. It lets you pick between buffered and true-bypass modes, modify the settings with TonePrint, and adapt the output to analog or digital tastes.
MXR M102 Dyna Comp Guitar Effects Pedal
- In-line compressor “evens out” the signal to your amplifier
- Useful for increased sustain with stable dynamics
- Nashville studio standard
The MXR M102 Dyna Comp is a well-known, if not legendary, pedal. The M102, which has been in production since 1976, has been copied, tweaked, and imitated in virtually every conceivable. In the guitar world, the MXR Dyna Comp is regarded as one of the “first” guitar pedal compressors. It’s regarded as a “hidden weapon” of tone augmentation for guitarists in a variety of genres, including funk, dance, and country.
It has two controls: Output and Sensitivity, and produces a tone that some describe as “sweet” or “fat.” For decades, musicians in Nashville have utilised the Dyna Comp to thicken the sound of Telecasters and other single coil guitars on recordings. MXR Dyna Comp (output for overall volume and sensitivity controlling how much your signal is compressed) is a musical and effective compressor that can improve the sustain of your guitar when playing a solo and smooth out powerful rhythmic passages.
It’s simple to see why MXR’s product is so well-liked, with a long list of 5-star ratings. It not only has the ideal average price for a compressor pedal (exactly in the middle of the pricing range), but it also boasts a vibrant, red modern look. You may be sure that wherever you take your new small compressor pedal, its appealing design will draw attention.
It has excellent sensitivity control and will easily catch all of the notes you play. The tone is amazing, and the compressor will be able to level out all of the high, unsettling notes while boosting the subtle, barely audible ones. It is more aimed towards guitar players because it works well with thin guitar strings rather than thick bass strings.
Despite the fact that this is a simple and basic pedal devoid of any unnecessary features, it has won the hearts of many. It only has two controls and one toggle, but it nevertheless packs a punch and produces a consistent sound for both loud and soft noises. It’s a straightforward and traditional device that will appeal to every player!
Boss CP-1X Compressor Guitar Pedal
- Compressor Effects Pedal with Gain Reduction Indicator
- Controls for Level
The CP-1X is a multi-band digital compressor utilising Boss’s clever Multi-Dimensional Processing. A typical nine-volt power source will serve for optimal performance and allow for extra headroom with an internal charge pump to 18 volts.
It has a multiband processor that analyses the signal from your guitar and applies the effect as needed. This implies that the pedal adjusts to varied frequencies, loudness, and playing nuances in order to produce the perfect amount of compression. Boss built this pedal with 18-volt internal electronics to power its high-tech design, which also allows for more headroom than typical.
The layout is intuitive because Boss units are so common; also, there are so many good sounds on this pedal that it’s difficult to get unstuck. There’s even an useful gain-reduction indicator that shows how much compression you’re using right now. Boss has always created great compressors, but the CP-1X takes it a step further by using Multi-Dimensional Processing (MDP) to keep your fundamental tone intact. It just compresses overtones in order to keep your signal as clear as possible.
Meanwhile, the control panel is usually well-designed, with knobs for compression, ratio, and attack that let you to dial in exactly what you want from the machine, as well as a volume knob for managing your output. There’s also a gain-reduction indication in the style of a Knight Rider to show you how much compression you’re using at any one time. It’s also quiet, as it runs on 9V that’s internally converted to 18V for lots of headroom.
Origin Effects Cali76 Compact Deluxe Limiting Amplifier Compressor
The Origin Effects Cali76 is a stompbox that houses a high studio grade FET compressor. It also has a lot of settings for a little pedal, including Ratio, Attack, Release, Dry, as well as output and input level knobs. Attack, Release, and Ratio are the three major knobs that allow you to customise the compression effect, from slight for transparency to full-on for sustain.
The Cali176 isn’t as noisy as other compressor pedals. Its transistors are biassed for high-current operation, resulting in a hiss-free studio stompbox with a 1960s-style FET compressor housed in a small enclosure. In terms of sound, this pedal captures the 1176’s incredibly quick and aggressive demeanour while also adding sustain and sparkle to your guitar’s tone. It’s also made of a super-durable metal casing with all-metal knobs, so you can be confident it’ll hold up on stage.
The Cali176 has a discrete Class A circuit that offers a highly musical compression that fulfils the work of a compressor without sacrificing dynamics, inspired by the Universal Audio 1176 Compressor/Limiter. With a little studio wizardry, this is transparent, improving sustain and saucing your tone. Premium components such as MELF resistors and film and tantalum capacitors are used under the hood. There’s no room for a battery because of the design, but that’s a good thing.
JHS Whitey Tighty Compressor Guitar Effects Pedal
- FET compressor that has three simple controls: Volume, Compression, and Blend
- The Volume control gives you the ability to set your volume at unity gain or slightly boosted to make up for any perceived loss from the compression
- The Compression knob controls the amount of compression for everything from a subtle smoothing of your tone to a pleasing squash that’s perfect for...
Compressors with FET technology, such as the JHS Whitey Tighty, are useful on stage and in the studio. This type of compressor pedal is extremely good at compressing an audio signal to extreme levels. JHS has packed all of the information found in a VST plugin into a well-designed pedal with the Whitey Tighty. With only three knobs to control, it appears that the range of compression produced by this JHS pedal is pretty limited. However, upon closer examination, it becomes clear that this is not your typical compression pedal.
It’s simple to change the Whitey Tighty’s tone. The output of the pedal can be changed simply by turning the three rotary knobs. First and foremost, the Volume control is excellent for creating unity gain and matching the pedal’s dynamics to those of your other effects. Second, the Comp control gives you the option of subtle, smooth compression or intense, hard-squashed compression. The Blend option is a convenient way to tailor some of the effects to your preferences.
The Whitey Tighty compressor, like the majority of JHS pedals, is built with high-quality circuitry and components. It’s built of tough metal to ensure that it will last a long time. The JHS Whitey Tighty is well worth considering if you want to employ extreme compression to achieve your desired sound. It’s made for more aggressive effects, and the FET design is perfect for thickening up your guitar in the studio or on stage.
The JHS Whitey Tighty compressor pedal is long-lasting, dependable, and versatile. It’s simple 3-knob layout makes it simple to use, and you can produce a wide range of compressed layouts that suit most styles by fiddling with the knobs.
Wampler Ego Compressor Pedal V2 Guitar Effects Pedal
- Brings a new level of of control to what is expected and needed by today's guitar players
- Designed to ensure playing dynamics could be retained without coloring the tone at all
- Allows your original signal to be blended in so you can get all the benefits of a great compressor but with the option to remove the squash at the...
Wampler Pedals Ego Compressor is one of a small group of compression units that you can use as a tone sweetness and one-pedal support group for your playing. With the all-important blend control on hand to dial in the level of squash you need, the layout provides you complete control over your compression.
The Ego, according to Brian Wampler, was created to compress and perform everything a compressor pedal does, while still keeping your tone uncolored, transparent, and ultimately dynamic. Although five knobs may seem excessive, once you’ve set the Ego, you can forget about it and it may never be turned off.
Many guitar compressors are based on versions of the famous Ross Compressor/MXR Dyna Comp circuitry, and the Ego from Wampler pedals is no exception – but it adds some unique functions, most notably blend and tone knobs, that substantially improve its versatility. You’ll find a sustain knob that effectively increases the amount of compression, as well as an attack knob that modifies the start of your note envelope to give it the kind of’snap’ that’s ideal for country picking.
The blend knob, on the other hand, gives you a lot more possibilities for a natural but compressed sound by allowing part of your raw tone to come through alongside the compressed. Whatever you require a compressor for, this should be able to provide it. There’s even a miniature version now.
The blend adjustment function is also incorporated in this model, allowing you to achieve the desired sustain quickly and effortlessly. The bypass also stays true to itself, which is something that most pedals tend to overlook throughout production. It proudly proclaims itself to be the most adaptable compressor on the market right now, and rightly so. With a flip of a button, it can travel from smooth to rough territory, giving you entire control over your sounds.
TC Electronics Hyper Gravity Mini Compressor
- Hypergravity mini compressor is the one thing missing from your pedalboard that will take your tone from good – to great! This little beauty...
The HyperGravity Multiband has a three-way switch that allows you to choose between three compression settings. To go with your Brad Paisley tab book, you can have a super-transparent Spectra compression, a more squishy Vintage compression, or you can upload one from TC Electronic large TonePrint library. You can also do this using your phone wirelessly.
Both are competent, but the TonePrint function, which allows you to load the pedal with compression presets created by TC or one of its roster of guitarists, or build your own using the software editor, is the crown treasure. You may also use the pedal to drive an amp because there’s lots of extra gain.
When it comes to compressor pedals and generating numerous effects to enhance your jamming sessions, TC Electronics is one of the most well-known companies. It’s a little pedal with three band compressors that will provide you with a wealth of intriguing features over the course of its lifetime. Because this is a digital pedal, it won’t colour your tones as much as it will balance strings and tunes.
Because this compressor is digital, you’ll be able to download popular pedal setups from artists that utilise this high-end equipment as well. It’s a useful feature if you want to keep up with the competition or just want to practise and experiment with what other artists have to offer. All you have to do now is pull out your phone and point it towards the guitar’s pick-up, and you’re ready to start!
Aside from that, this is a superb compressor that operates at the confluence of digital and analogue. You can choose between true-bypass and buffered bypass, and there’s a familiar menu of options to dial in your compression. It’s also made to last.
Xotic SP Compressor
The Xotic SP Compressor is a little pedal that may be used in a variety of guitar styles. This pedal is based on the well-known “Ross” compression circuit, which is famed for its transparency and smooth dynamics. It also lends a harmonic sweetness to your tone. You can modify the performance of the Xotic SP to suit your taste with a three-position switch that toggles between a trio of compression levels. There’s a variable blend control and internal dip switches in addition to the preset switch, all of which work together to create your compressed tone.
This Xotic Effects compressor pedal, which first appeared on the market in 2012, is another of the less expensive options. When considering all of the products in this niche, it’s right in the middle of the common price range. This compressor, like the others, does an excellent job of smoothing out tones and sounds to make them seem more full and rich, and it will not let you down.
The SP Compressor is powered by 9 volt DC electricity, but it can alternatively be powered by a battery. Its small size makes it a practical addition to your pedalboard, and despite its small size, there’s plenty of opportunity for customizing the results to fit your needs.
With its appealing design, this small device will be sure to catch some attention. It will light brightly and liven up any studio or stage. The housing is as strong as the Boss CS-3’s, and it can withstand the kind of trauma that is unavoidable during tour trips and mishaps. The blend knob on the Xotic Effects compressor pedal is a well praised feature that proved to be quite useful during jamming sessions. The bypass mode is also included with this pedal, which enriches the tones produced by your guitar while also levelling the punches. It also comes with a battery already installed. You won’t receive any more weak notes, and the thinner strings will sound much better right away!
The Xotic SP Mini Compressor pedal is an excellent bargain. With high-end compression circuitry and a small number of helpful knobs and internal dip switches for dialing in your tone, this small pedal is deceptively versatile and plays well regardless of your genre style. For the money, this is undoubtedly one of the best guitar compression pedals available.
JHS Pulp N’ Peel V4 Compressor Guitar Effects Pedal
- 4 controls, added an EQ knob, Dirt toggle, XLR output
- Improved detection circuit for smoother tones with added sustain
- Dirt voiced to go from warm tone enhancement to gritty tonal foundation
The fourth edition of Josh Scott’s Pulp ‘n’ Peel compressor includes a dirt switch that toggles a parallel overdrive circuit on and off. This adds a touch of overdrive to the mix, with a trim pot on the side of the pedal allowing you to adjust the amount of gain. It’s wonderful to have that option.
There’s also a blend control for finding the ideal assault and clarity balance, as well as a tilt EQ to darken or brighten your processed tone. It’ll be circumvented if you set it to noon. The Pulp ‘n’ Peel features a thorough build, as you’d expect from JHS, with subtle touches like switchable buffered/true-bypass and balanced XLR output with ground lift to kill.
Fender The Bends Compressor Pedal
- Dual internal audio paths for low noise
- High-current symmetrical control path for fast response time
- Led backlit knobs
If the thought of Fender making your go-to stompbox compressor is intriguing, and the controls – which include drive and recovery knobs as well as a wet/dry blend control – are unknown, the tones should reassure you… The Bends uses OTA-based electronics, which puts it in the same family as the MXR Dyna Comp and others.
On a darkened stage, backlit LEDs on the control knobs let you know what’s what. Recovery controls the compression’s release time – how long it takes for the compression to relax – and, when combined with the drive control, allows you to dial in the compression and sustain you desire. Blend allows you to choose how much of your uncompressed signal is used in the mix.
Fender With multiple audio pathways that keep noise to a minimum, the Bends pedal is constructed like a tank. The Fender amp jewel light on the enclosure is also really interesting.
Xotic SP Compressor Effect Pedal
The Xotic SP uses the same OTA (operational transconductance amplifier) technology as the Ross Compressor, resulting in a squash that many guitarists are familiar with. Internal DIP switches provide access to four attack/release choices that add snap to the start of your note, a hi-cut filter, and an input pad for high-powered humbuckers, as well as a three-way switch for compression strength.
The finest part is what you can do with the two knobs: an output volume knob with up to +15dB of boost and a blend knob that lets you combine dry and compressed sound. This is a flexible addition to any ‘board, with the combination of boost and compression allowing a wide range of options.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is a compressor pedal?
A compressor pedal is one of the most useful pieces of gear you may have in your studio. It’s a versatile effect that may change the tone of an instrument. Compressor pedals are useful for controlling dynamics. Many guitarists use an EQ pedal to correct issues that a compressor pedal would be better suited for. When a guitarist is trying to keep the low frequencies from overpowering the highs, a compressor will do a better job than most EQ pedals.
An audio compressor is a specialized amplifier that bridges the gap between the signal’s loudest and quietest parts. A compressor pedal can also be used to make a solid-state amplifier seem more tube-like. The volume difference in bets A compressor pedal is one of the most useful pieces of gear you may have in your studio. It’s a versatile effect that may change the tone of an instrument. Compressor pedals are useful for controlling dynamics.
Many guitarists use an EQ pedal to correct issues that a compressor pedal would be better suited for. When a guitarist is trying to keep the low frequencies from overpowering the highs, a compressor will do a better job than most EQ pedals. The dynamic range of an audio signal is defined as the distance between the loudest section or peak and the average level. An audio compressor is a specialized amplifier that lowers the distance between the loudest part or peak and the average level of an audio signal. A compressor is a device that is used to shorten the distance between two points. A compressor can make the difference between the peak notes being quieter and the quiet notes being louder, resulting in a more even-sounding output.
Do I need a compression pedal?
Compressor pedals are widely used to make a clean guitar sound better. By increasing the volume, compression extends the life of the notes played on a guitar. Notes played with a clean guitar tone often have little sustain and die rapidly after the string is plucked.
Compression also works nicely with country guitarists’ fingerstyle or hybrid picking styles. By leveling out the different strings’ dynamics, a compressor allows you to get a balanced tone when playing fingerstyle electric guitar.
Country guitarists, for example, frequently employ a compression pedal to generate a distinct sound. For rock or blues solos, a compressor adds additional sustain. To fatten their tone even more, blues guitarists employ a compressor with a little overdrive pedal.